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Adopting a Pet for your Elderly Loved One

Adopting a Pet for your Elderly Loved One

Many seniors across the country face difficulties with depression, isolation, and loneliness. As people age it becomes harder to get out to meet new people, or have the energy to do favorite activities and hobbies. The numbers of seniors dealing with these issues continues to rise as more individuals choose to remain in their own homes rather than move to an assisted living facility.

One thing that has been proven to help stave off feelings of depression and isolation is regular companionship, whether it is with a person, or an animal. Seniors who live at home spend a lot of their time by themselves, and the addition of an appropriate and manageable pet can do wonders for their mental health and stability. For some people, just having a fish to look at and feed every day can boost their spirits tremendously.

What kind of pet is appropriate?

If you are searching for a pet for your elderly loved one, the first thing you should take into consideration is whether or not they want the responsibility associated with a pet. You should never surprise your loved ones with a pet, always make sure they are on board before bringing an animal into their home. There are varying levels of responsibility for different animals, and in many cases you can find a happy medium for your loved one. For instance, a dog may be too much work for them if they have trouble with mobility, but a cat might be a perfect companion.

Small mammals, like guinea pigs or rabbits, can make good pets for seniors as well depending on their temperament. Small animals that enjoy being held and cuddled are great for boosting spirits and giving a sense of companionship. Cats are probably one of the better options for seniors, as they do their own thing for the most part where care is concerned, and only require feeding and cleaning the litter box.

Certain reptiles can also make great pets for seniors, though they require a bit more set up and attention to make sure their environment is suitable. Bearded dragons are very docile and enjoy being held, but they do require the owner to feed them live crickets. In addition, ball pythons and corn snakes are also incredibly docile and great for handling, but as predators, require either frozen/thawed or live rats for food. If your loved one is more adventurous, a reptile may be the perfect pet for them.

Making Sure Care Needs are Met

Before getting any pet, you need to sit down with your loved one and make sure they are able to perform any and all care tasks that would be associated with keeping that animal healthy. If they have trouble with mobility, you might not want an energetic animal that’s going to need lots of walking. If they have trouble with memory you might want some sort of automatic feeding device. If they have trouble bending over, you might need to invest in an automatic clean litter box. There are plenty of products out there that help with almost every aspect of pet ownership, but it’s important that your loved one is healthy enough to manage without those things, just in case.

In some cases, your loved one may have an in-home senior care company, like Seniors Helping Seniors, who sends a caregiver on a regular basis to come check in with them. In these situations you can ask the caregiver to make sure that the pets are being taken care of when they come in to check on your loved one.

Finding the Perfect Fit

If you and your elderly loved one have talked about pet ownership and decided that it’s a good idea for them, all that’s left is picking out the perfect pet. For some pets, like snakes or rabbits, you might need to find a specific breeder in your area, since animals from the pet store can develop behavioral issues from poor care that can make taking care of them much more difficult. But for cats, dogs, or other small mammals, the local animal shelter is your best bet. They’ll be able to help you find an animal with the temperament you’re looking for, and they’ll know more about the specific animals that they have than a pet store clerk would. That way they can let you know if there are any red flags or existing behaviors that your loved one wouldn’t be able to handle.

It can be tough to take care of your aging loved ones, and it’s always difficult to make sure they are in good mental health. Companionship has many benefits and goes a long way towards making seniors feel active, needed, and loved. If you think your loved one is struggling with the mental burden of living alone, consider talking with them about adopting a pet. It could do wonders for their quality of life.

When To Take Your Dog To The Vet

When To Take Your Dog To The Vet

Often times, we are sent messages regarding various symptoms and signs of potential injury to dogs that pet owners are unsure of whether or not they should be taken to the vet. Many times, these symptoms and issues they describe are relatively harmless or indicative of something minor that wouldn’t warrant a potentially expensive trip to the animal clinic. It can definitely be frightening seeing one of your four legged family members undergoing something that you are unsure of, especially related to their health. Whether your pet is wheezing, coughing, limping, or frothing at the mouth, here are some of the most common signs of something being wrong with their health that would, in the large majority of cases, warrant a trip to the veterinarian’s office.

We spoke with the team at our local veterinarian emergency room (http://www.wellesleyah.com/) to help us come up with a list of some of the most commonly seen issues that would cause you to bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible. These are the signs and symptoms that should worry you!

1. Emergency Trauma

Unfortunately, one of the most common things that would, in 100% of cases, require a trip to the emergency veterinarian is trauma to the dog. If your pet sustained some type of bodily harm such as falling, being hit by a car or bike, or becoming involved in a fight with another animal or dog, it’s absolutely vital that you take them to the veterinarian clinic as soon as possible. In some cases, the dog may even appear okay on the outside after sustaining trauma, but upon inspection from a professional, may have internal injuries, such as lung problems, internal bleeding, or another injury that doesn’t show symptoms immediately. More often than not, if you see your dog seemingly in a lot of pain or limping, it’s always a good choice to get them checked out.

2. Breathing Problems

In both humans and animals, potential issues with the airway and breathing are extremely problematic. Sometimes, it may be caused by having something lodged in the throat, causing choking. In other cases, it could be because of an allergic reaction or something known as Dyspnea, which takes the form of wheezing, choking, or raspy sounding breathing. These are very serious incidents, and should never be taken lightly.

3. Mental Issues

In general, dogs are happy, bright, and responsive to your actions. If you happen to notice any major changes in your dog’s day to day mood, such as being lethargic, weak, or just overall tired, you should take them to the veterinarian to get a checkout as soon as possible. In some cases, these symptoms can be something relatively minor such as indigestion causing them to feel bad, but in other cases, could be the sign of an extremely problematic illness that needs to be treated and taken care of.

4. Constant Vomiting/Diarrhea

Another commonly found issue that can happen with dogs is diarrhea and vomiting. While they can be signs of a serious dog health issue, it’s important that you give them at least a day to work themselves out to ensure it isn’t just your usual stomach bug. If your dog is seemingly okay aside from the occasional bouts of sickness, just ensure they have plenty of water and keep them rested. If you happen to see any blood in the vomit or diarrhea, or if it doesn’t clear out in a prompt time, then be sure to bring your animal to the vet immediately to be checked out.

 

No matter what issue you may be coming across with your dog, taking the proper precautions and getting them checked out can be the difference between another day in the life or a serious issue arising. If at any time you are seriously concerned with your pet’s health, then it can never hurt to take them to the nearest clinic as soon as possible to put your mind at ease.

Healthy Shopping For Home & Health – Pets Included!

Healthy Shopping For Home & Health – Pets Included!

Grocery shopping can be a dull chore you may dread every week. You may often find that you are overwhelmed with the choices, prices, and store traffic. Perhaps you are tired of making last minute trips to the store throughout the week because you have forgotten certain items. The solution to your problems is much simpler than you may think. Believe it or not, the key to relieving most of the stress that stems from grocery shopping lies in a thorough, well written shopping list.

A grocery list can keep you on track as you navigate your way among the distracting aisles of even the largest of supermarkets. Taking a few minutes to write a list will probably end up saving you money as well, since you will no longer be blindly guessing at the items on shelves. Instead, because of your list, you will know exactly what you want and buy only what you need. With list in hand, savvy shoppers are able to move swiftly and efficiently throughout the grocery store, making it to the checkout line with all their nerves intact.

SHSBatonRouge

Adding to the Grocery List Throughout the Week – Incorporating Your Pet’s Nutrition

Keep a pad of paper and a working pen in the kitchen or in some well-used location where they are easily accessible. Throughout the week, as you run out of various products or remember things that you need from the store, write the items down on your list immediately. Even if you are at work or someplace away from the shopping list you can write the item down somewhere and copy it to the list later. If you wait, you risk forgetting what you need altogether and you will inevitably be making an unplanned trip to the store sometime after grocery day.

Compiling a Thorough Shopping List For Yourself and Your Animals

A day or two before you go for groceries, sit down and write out a menu of dinners for the following week (or month, depending on how often you go grocery shopping). Doing this a couple of days before shopping gives you some time to remember anything you may have initially forgotten to include on the list. Include any side dishes or desserts you may intend to serve with each dinner.

With this master menu in hand, begin with the first dinner and write down every food item you will have to buy, checking your fridge and pantry as you go along. Make your way through each dinner until you have written down on your shopping list everything you will need to cook the dinners on your menu. Be sure to mark beside any items you need more than one of.

If you have a senior citizen who lives with you, it’s important to take their nutritional needs in to consideration when going through the shopping list you need. One of our local senior care companies, http://seniorcarebatonrougela.com/, offered some great advice on the vitamins and minerals you want to ensure all seniors are incorporating into their diet, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Iron, Fiber, and many others!

Once you have taken care of all dinner items, add any breakfast, lunch, and snack foods you will need to purchase. Breakfasts may include things like cereal, eggs, milk, and bagels. Lunch might include bread, lunchmeat, chips, and cookies for the kids and microwave dinners or instant pasta meals for you. Don’t forget to add snacks like fruit, crackers, and nuts to the shopping list. If you do your grocery shopping at more than one store, make two separate lists and label each with the name of the appropriate store and include all corresponding groceries.

List Tips to Help You Save On Your Monthly Grocery Bill – Dogs, Cats, And Everything In Between!

You may wish to write your grocery list on the back of an envelope if you have coupons you want to use. Then you can simply slip them into the envelope to keep everything together. Remember to mark any coupon items on your shopping list to remind you to save. Also, since most grocery stores now post their weekly sales paper online, you can visit your supermarket’s website to see which items are on sale. If you desire to purchase any of these, add them to your list to avoid passing up the savings.

With these grocery list tools in hand you can relax a little more about shopping. Instead of being stressful, the chore will become a simple matter of collecting the items on your list. A little organization can save you a lot of aggravation – and spare you from those inconvenient, midweek grocery runs.

4 Important Things to Do When You Consider Adopting a Rescue Dog from a Shelter

4 Important Things to Do When You Consider Adopting a Rescue Dog from a Shelter

Adopting a rescue dog means that you are saving a life. People think that dogs are only taken to shelters because there is something wrong with them. This is far from true. People give up their dogs because of allergies, because they cannot take care of them anymore, because they have to move, or because they didn’t realize what having a dog would be like. A rescue dog will be the most loyal and loving companion.

When you visit the shelter ready to adopt your rescue dog, you should:

Ask a Lot of Questions

Many pets are returned to a shelter or given up because the owners don’t understand what taking care of them entail. Ask about the prospective costs that you can expect. If your dog has special needs, you will probably have to prepare for extra vet costs, medication, etc. Ask about the dog’s personality, history and temperament. Ask how he is with other dogs, cats and children. Ask about their exercise and attention needs. All this information will ensure that you know what to expect.

Let Your Pets Get Acquainted

Before finalizing the adoption, ask the shelter if you can bring your other fur family members to meet the new dog. This way you will be able to see how they interact and if there may be any problems. If they get used to each other a bit, you will have no problems.

Adopt an Adult Dog

You will find many adult dogs in shelters just waiting their lives away because everyone wants a cute puppy. Everyone wanting a cute puppy is why so many bigger dogs end up in shelters because they didn’t know how big he will get. When you adopt an adult dog, you not only give him hope again, but you also know what type of dog you get. Older dogs’ personalities have settled and they are more mature and calm. Many of them have possibly been trained and will settle into your family with ease.

Don’t Give Dogs as a gift

Giving someone a dog as a gift may seem like a good idea, but you don’t know the reasons why don’t have one. If they don’t really want a dog, the dog will become unwanted and possibly end up in a shelter. Rather make sure they want one or avoid giving a dog as a gift altogether.

Rescue dogs understand how lucky they are to find a forever home. They understand that they are unwanted and that their previous humans didn’t want them anymore. They have feelings and they feel hurt and sad. When you adopt a rescue dog, you become a hero and you gain a friend for life. The rescue dogs need you, but this should not be a hasty decision. Take your time and be sure that you are ready for the commitment.

Adopt Don’t Shop: 5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Rescue Dog

Adopt Don’t Shop: 5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Rescue Dog

Shelters are overpopulated and millions of animals are euthanized every year. You can help to save these animals and give them the life they deserve. There are many reasons why you should adopt a rescue dog and we would like to share those with you.

1. Your dog will be healthy and very grateful. People have a misunderstanding about the health of shelter dogs. They are not necessarily sick or otherwise incapacitated. Many shelter animals are brought in because their owners didn’t realize how big they will get or how much money they will cost or because they have to move somewhere that doesn’t allow dogs. All the pets are healthy. Some may have special needs because of their abuse, but they are just as good as any other dog.

2. Adopting costs less than buying. If you buy a dog from a breeder or a pet shop, you will pay thousands of dollars. At a shelter, you pay an adoption fee that only covers the care and vaccinations of the dog you want to adopt. Many of them are also already house trained, socialized, and possibly even went to puppy school. No extra costs there.

3. You help solve a huge problem. Animal overpopulation is a huge problem and there are so many homeless and abused dogs in every country. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you are helping to solve the problem. People who buy from breeders who continue breeding despite the huge overpopulation problem are not making the right choice. By adopting, you are not only giving a dog a home, but you are also saying no to breeders and also opening a spot for the next animal we need to save.

4. The choices are endless. There are so many beautiful dogs in shelters that you are bound to find the perfect one for you. There are big ones, small ones, medium ones, young ones, old ones, and they all have different colors and breeds. You will find the perfect dog for your lifestyle and your personality.

5. You are saving a life. According to statistics, approximately 4 million dogs and cats are euthenized every year in the United States. This does not include the millions in other countries. No-kill shelters are overflowing and they don’t have enough funds. They don’t have a choice but to euthenize. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you are saving that dog’s life. You are making it possible for him to have a good and happy life like it was intended. You will be that dog’s hero forever.

Next time you decide you want to add a furry family member, please visit your nearest shelter and adopt from them. You will find yourself with the most loyal and lovable dog you can imagine. The dog you rescue understands very well that you are their saving grace. Do the right thing – Adopt Don’t Shop!

Designed by: arfdogs.org
Facts About Animal Shelters: The Good and the Bad

Facts About Animal Shelters: The Good and the Bad

Animal rescue centers and shelters do wonderful work and they see some of the most amazing and most tragic things every day. Shelters are not ideal for animals, but at least it gives them a temporary home. Unfortunately, it may be their last home if they don’t get adopted. We would like to share some general facts about shelters to show what it is all about.

The Bad

Many dogs in shelters are purebred. Yes, you read correctly. 25% of the dogs that are found in shelters are purebred. This means that the owners bought them from breeders and at some point decided it is not what they wanted or the dog grew too big or some other unacceptable excuse.

Millions of cats and dogs are neutered every year. There is a huge animal overpopulation problem across the world. In the US, between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are killed every year because the shelters are full and people don’t adopt.

People don’t neuter or spay. The biggest contributor to overpopulation is irresponsible owners. These owners allow their pets to reproduce (knowingly or not) and worsen the problem. The right thing to do to ensure the safety of your pet and help the shelters is to spay and neuter your pets as soon as they are old enough.

The Good

Shelters don’t only rescue dogs and cats. At most shelters, you will be able to adopt cats, dogs, pigs, hamsters, guinea pigs, cows, reptiles, chickens, turtles, and more. People who abandon animals tend to not discriminate against species. All these different animals are waiting for their forever homes.

You will find the most unique animals. There is no better place to find a unique and loving animal to make part of your family. The remaining 75% of dogs and all the other animals are mixed breeds. If you are like us and don’t mind what type of breed we get, you must adopt from a shelter.

You can adopt adult animals. Most people want the cute kitten or puppy but they don’t want the costs and effort that go with that. If you are not prepared to give the babies what they need, don’t adopt one. Rather adopt and adult cat or dog that has calmed down and matured. They still need attention, walks, etc., but they will most likely be less destructive.

Shelters offer support. When you adopt from a shelter, the workers and volunteers will be able to help you find the perfect pet. They know all the animals very well and can match you up with your perfect furry friend.

Shelters do great work but it is the responsibility of the public to help them survive and solve the animal overpopulation problem. Millions of animals will continue to be killed every year if something doesn’t change soon. Shelter animals are so loyal and they are all very grateful when someone adopts them. They truly make the best companions because they have had such hard lives.

Signs that Mean Your Dog Needs a Veterinarian

Signs that Mean Your Dog Needs a Veterinarian

Our dogs show us when they are unhappy or sick and we just need to make sure we pick up on the signs. We may not always understand what is wrong, but some signs mean that you need to call the vet and make sure what is wrong. Look out for these signs.

1. Difficulty breathing – this could be a sign of heart or respiratory problems. Also, look out for blue or white gums or tongue for the same reason. If your dog had an accident in water or nearly drowned, have him checked out for potential problems.

2. Signs of injury – Some injuries are small and may just need some antiseptic cleaning. However, more severe injuries that come from being hit by a car, being in a serious fight with other animals, getting shot, etc. needs to be checked. Even if it doesn’t look that bad, it is better to be sure. If your dog was in a fight with an animal that wasn’t vaccinated, it may cause him to get sick. Any wound that shows bone, torn skin, bleeds a lot or causes serious swelling, must be checked out by a vet.

3. Signs of gastrointestinal distress – Having gastrointestinal problems is very uncomfortable for your dog. You should look for signs of strain without success, a bloated abdomen, vomiting that won’t stop or contains blood, blood in the stool, bleeding rectum, or choking. These signs can also indicate that your dog may have swallowed a toy or other foreign object or got poisoned somehow.

4. Skin problems – All dogs will scratch themselves – it is normal. When the scratching becomes excessive and is causing excessive shedding, it may indicate a problem. Irritated skin, persistent scratching and chewing at the same spot, red bumps and lumps that are not normal, and maggots, are all signs that your dog needs veterinary attention.

The basic rule to follow is to seek a vet’s advice when your dog shows abnormal behavior. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Infographic by: vetnetwork.com
How to Put Together a First Aid Kit for Your Pets

How to Put Together a First Aid Kit for Your Pets

Our pets are part of the family and they also have accidents or get sick. Just like you have a first aid kit for the humans in your home, you should compile one for your pets. You can either buy a ready-made kit or put together your own. The things needed for a pet first aid kit is a bit different from those of humans. Include these items:

Medication

A first aid kid, whether for humans or pets, needs to have some medication. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you never give your pets human medication. Include these items for day-to-day cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries or conditions:

  • Canine Aspirin
  • Disinfectant
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Allergy medication
  • Activated charcoal
  • Ointment for itching
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Anti-diarrhea medication

Important Paperwork

It is important to have emergency numbers close by and know where to find them. If someone else will need to look after your pets, they need contact details and information about medication.

Laminate and stick important information to the top or inside of the kit container. This should include the name and contact details of your vet and the nearest emergency clinic, a list of medications and the dosages if your pet has medical conditions, and the number of a Poison Control Centre.

Tools

You will also need to include some tools to help you administer medication, subdue your pet when he or she is in pain, etc. You will need, among others, the following basics:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Eye dropper
  • Oral syringe
  • Nail clippers
  • Muzzle
  • Blankets and towels

You should ask your vet about specific items that you may need for your pets. You will also need to have basic supplies like gauze pads, first aid tape, cotton swabs, bandages, etc. With these things in place, you will be much better prepared to help your pet when they get hurt or sick. It also helps when you go away and someone else looks after them.

4 Cleaning Hacks to Help Pet Owners and Their Furry Family Get Along Better

4 Cleaning Hacks to Help Pet Owners and Their Furry Family Get Along Better

Being a pet owner is one of the best and most joyous things. However, our furry family can at times test our patience and cause a lot of extra cleaning. Today, we have a few hacks and innovative suggestions for helping create some harmony.


Getting rid of stains – We have a special mixture to help you get rid of stains. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide and pour it on the carpet. Cover the area with a towel so the stain can be transferred. Repeat the process until there is no more transfer from the carpet stain. Cover the area with a towel and a heavy object to dry.


Get rid of odors – Pets have accidents, especially when they are still young and getting trained. To get rid of the urine and other accident odors, wash the soiled items with normal detergent and add a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. This will get rid of the smell and will also discourage your pets to do it again.


Cleaning vomit – Don’t clean it up immediately. Allow it to dry and then vacuum it up. It is much easier to clean when it has dried. You can then wash the carpet to get the stain and smell out without rubbing it deeper into the carpet.


Get rid of hair – Most pets shed hair – it is just the amount that is different. To help you clean up the hair, spray some static removal product on the surfaces where you have a problem with hair, for example, the carpets and furniture. Let the solution work for a few minutes and then vacuum the surfaces as normal.

Try these simple tricks and see how easy cleaning can be. It will make it easier and let you enjoy time with your loving furry family. A messy pet is a normal pet, so just be patient and support him through his training-wheel phase.